UPDATE, 11 p.m. May 8, 2009: Added revised chart with corrected Vizio market share from iSuppli.
From the wee punk it was back as a 2002 startup to being named the top-selling LCD TV brand in the U.S., Irvine’s Vizio Inc. has obviously come a long way. And fast.
ISuppli Corp., a market researcher, said that Vizio is now number one because consumers are looking for cheaper options. Vizio now makes up 21.6 percent of LCD TVs shipped in the first quarter of 2009, up from 13.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008.
In getting to the top, Vizio passed Samsung, Sony, LG Electronics and Sharp. See chart below, as provided by iSuppli.
“Due to its aggressive pricing, Vizio for some time has maintained its position as the North America’s top-selling LCD-TV value brand,” said Riddhi Patel, principal analyst, television systems, for iSuppli, in a news release. “However, since the onset of the economic downturn, Vizio’s share has risen dramatically. With budgets becoming increasingly tight, consumers are finding the company’s inexpensive sets more alluring.”
(Note: iSuppli corrected the figures, as of late May 8. I’ve pasted the new chart on top. The older one, with the red X, is there for comparison. Major whoops on iSuppli’s part. Vizio’s older numbers were much lower than in reality.)
Vizio has managed to keep its prices low, despite competition from other upstart brands and even the big names. According to iSuppli, Vizio’s lowest-priced TV was a 42-inch HDTV for $850. A comparable TV from Samsung was $1,000, while Sony’s was $1,090.
By getting into stores like Costco and Wal-Mart, Vizio has put its products in places where people are buying.
Because of its success, Vizio says it’s even been targeted by questionable digital TV patent holders demanding royalities that up the price of every TV by $30 (see “Vizio TVs could be $30 cheaper.”) Vizio’s fighting back.
For the industry, LCD TV shipments were 6.3 million in North America during the first quarter, up 10.5 percent from the prior year. The growth, Patel said, indicates that LCD-TVs remain strong despite the depressing economy that has caused other consumer electronics to falter.
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